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Monday, December 29, 2008

Charmin Is Being Charming

Yes, here it is.  A brief moment in time when I wasn’t growling at her, pushing her off my kids or trying to keep her from licking the table.  A moment when I thought that both my dogs were being cute, laying in the sun enjoying the warmth.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Getting Ready For The Playa

My daughter Emily likes to be naked. It’s not something I encourage or discourage, it's just what she likes to do. I can spend 20 minutes getting her dressed, turn around and she will be standing there naked. It’s who she is.

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We were at Christmas dinner at my Aunt's when I turn around and our daughter is running around without pants. At least she wasn’t going commando. A relative by marriage hears us talking about this and decides it’s an open opportunity to give me just one more thing to worry about when my daughter grows up.

“She’s getting ready for the playa,” he says. “She is going to be running around burning, rolling in the mud naked. That’s what she is doing, getting ready for the playa.” Now I have been to Burning Man. I think it's a great time. I just don’t want to have to think about my 3 year old all grown up running around on the playa.

So fast forward to today and Emily is sitting at the table finishing up her lunch and she starts waving her arms around in a sixties bohemian hippie sort of way. Can you dig it? So, not one to pass up an opportunity I say “Emily, are you getting ready for the playa?” Sure enough the next thing I know my daughter continues her hippy arm swaying and body swaying dance and saying “I’m getting ready for the playa” which comes out something like “I’m betting ready for da tie-ya”. Now this I thought was funny and I figured I would share with mommy.

Susanne sits down at the table for lunch, the kids have moved on into the playroom and Emily strolls out (wearing only pants of course) and a purse on her arm and I say “Em, show your mommy how you are getting ready for the playa.”

She replies “I can’t, I’m going shopping”.

Can I tell you, I was sort of relieved.

Friday, December 26, 2008

There Go Any Future Invites

So, I don’t know what it is about me and Greg, but we seem to find ourselves among a selection of alcoholic beverages and a group of uber conservatives. The first time this ill-fated combo occurred with non-family members was late this summer when I convinced, or rather TOLD, Greg that since the BBQ was at MY friend’s house, I got to drink, and he got to drive. (Frankly, I don’t think I will EVER catch up on how much he owes me drink nights with all the designated driving I did during two pregnancies and months upon months of nursing our children.)

So, there I am, enjoying a nice evening of chatting and drinking, drinking and chatting. And then (dun dun DUNNNNNN), the topic of politics came up. There were about six or eight of us sitting around the table in the back yard when the FBI agent and the stay-at-home mom (that would be me, in case anyone was curious whether or not I had a secret identity) stirred the proverbial pot with talk about the upcoming election and every possible uncomfortable political topic imaginable. It didn’t take long and we were the only two left at the table. For over an hour. Until Greg dragged me away and drove me home.

Since I worry, I figured we’d never be invited to anything by these people again. But I was wrong. Apparently enough time had passed for all to be forgiven because lo and behold we were invited to a Christmas party with the same group of people attending. This time, I told Greg HE could drink because I certainly didn’t want to have a replay of the last time we were all together.

Early in the evening the FBI agent and I poked fun at one another for our previous political pummeling, and then quickly changed the topic to something a little safer. Like the size and shape of the carpet’s loop pile beneath our feet. Or deciding whether the fondue had Gruyere cheese in it or not. Or whether a wookie would crush a My Pretty Pony when trying to ride it.

Then the entire lot of us, uber conservatives and the two token liberals alike, sat to partake in the “Yankee Swap”. This game, which serves as an ice-breaker among such groups, pits one against another for the best gift. It goes something like this:

  1. The first person picks a gift and opens it.
  2. The second person can either take the first person’s gift or pick another unwrapped gift to open.
  3. If your gift is taken by someone else, then you once again can either take someone else’s gift or an unwrapped one.
  4. This continues until everyone has had a chance to either steal away someone else’s treasure or take a chance with an unknown gift.

It was easy to spot the people who wanted their gifts taken by someone else in order for a chance to get a better one. In fact, the whole exchange sounded roughly like:

The fourth person up heard: “You really NEED a pink tie. Really.”

The seventh person heard: “C’mon. Pink is your color. You NEED this pink tie.”
“Box of chocolates?”

The tenth person heard: “C’mon, you can tie up your husband with the pink tie.”
“Box of chocolates?”
“You skin looks dry. You should take my lotion pack with Lipliscious products!”

The thirteenth person was bombarded with: “Pink tie?!”
“You REALLY want some chocolates!”
“Your wife would really like it if you gave her some Lipliscious skin!”
“Look, with this Buns and Abs DVD, you can start your New Year’s resolution early.”
”But you want the chocolates first!”

And so on…

I’m happy to report I ended up with a $20 gift card to Blockbuster, and Greg ended up with a $20 gift card to Keva juice. We scored. I guess no one wanted to piss off the liberals. You know how we are.

The ice-breaking Yankee Swap in conjunction with the numerous ways in which to imbibe provided the necessary ingredients for our next political run in. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t me OR the FBI guy this time. When I heard “I wasn’t about to vote for a Muslim”, it was my blatant queue to get my ass out of the kitchen quicker than the speed of one of my kids sneaking another brownie from the dessert table. I mean really, there isn’t a damn thing I could have said to that person that would change their mind. Without alcohol pulsing through my veins, my ability to choose my battles is much more spot on. Imagine that. So I high-tailed it out. Except this time, I left something behind. My husband.

This time it was him against all the other men at the party. Minus the FBI guy. So, I packed up our gifts, bundled up the kids, and placed them all by the door for a quick escape. I slyly snuck into the kitchen and tugged on Greg’s shirt. Then I yanked. Then I pulled on it with my heels digging into their tile floor. I was practically horizontal, but damn it all, he didn’t budge. If anything, it made him project even louder. But that’s not really possible, so it must have been my imagination.

As of yet, we haven’t received our New Year’s invite.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hot Wife Gives Hummer For Christmas

That’s right.  For weeks I have been telling my wife that all I want for Christmas is a hummer, and I am not a truck person, if you know what I mean (wink wink nudge nudge say no more).

So last night, after all the presents are under the tree, and we finish watching Mummy 3 we drag our tired selves to bed.  Susanne crawls into bed next to me and I snuggle up thinking…maybe I can get my Christmas present a little early. 

All I get is this wry look and “No, today isn’t Christmas, you are going to have to wait”.  I wasn’t happy by any means I promise you that. So I grudgingly roll over and go to sleep.

This morning, Braedyn was up at 4 am.  Lucky for us Santa leaves the full stockings on their beds so they have something to entertain them for awhile.  It didn’t last long. Braedyn was in bugging Granny at 4:50. So Susanne was up before me (and out of bed leaving me all alone in the bedroom).  Shortly before 6 I crawl out to get my tired ass a cup of coffee.  So you can imagine I figure there goes getting my Christmas present first thing in the morning.

I didn’t get to my stocking for some time, but once I did, I found this.  Talk about a tiny hummer.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

A Strange Sort of Sadness

I recently posted a bunch of old photos on Facebook. These pictures were from when I was at Andress High School out in the west Texas town of El Paso. I left El Paso the summer after my sophomore year after my parents divorced. At the time I was excited about the move, happy even. In hindsight, I realize how hard a move during high school really was.

I’m really grateful that I grew up in El Paso. Wait, let me qualify that statement. I’m really grateful that I grew up in El Paso WHEN I did. The city, both a border town and the home of a large military base, provided me with, what I have come to realize, a very unique and diverse group of friends. I’ve heard things are just not the same down there now. Sadly, from what I understand, gangs are much more prevalent now, making it more difficult to cross racial lines in the name of friendship.

As grateful as I am for growing up there, I’m equally grateful that I don’t live there now. I’m sure the economy is worse now than it was when I was there, which is hard to imagine given that there were waiting lists for jobs at Burger King. No joke. Not a good prospect for a 16 year old.

So, I posted these pictures on Facebook, which has done a great job bringing those of us that were friends way back then a little closer today. Those walks down memory lane have helped remind us of each other’s senses of humor, moments of hilarity, and some really good times. Through the process of scanning and posting, I realized how my memory is already failing me. I was having a hard time remembering some people’s names, first and/or last. One person whose last name I couldn’t remember was Doug. Doug was a great guy, a real sweetheart, whose presence in our group of friends was most certainly a good thing. In fact, just now, I am remembering being in his little, and I mean teeny weeny, convertible. The back seat was so small that there were two of us sitting on the back of the car with our feet in the back seat, as he drove. Yeah, that was fun. Or at least it was until we got pulled over by an undercover cop. In a station wagon. Yeah. Great times. Great memories.

I saw through a friend of a friend on Facebook, a Doug that went to Andress. I didn’t recognize the picture, but hell, I know I don’t look the same as I did ahem, TWENTY years ago (THANK THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER for small favors!). I figured I’d see if it was him, and he accepted my friend request. Through emailing back and forth, we discovered that he was in fact not the Doug I was looking for. Then my way-back-friend Jessica told me his last name. Then. Then she told me the news. Doug had died in a motorcycle accident in Guam in 1998.

It is truly hard to describe how this made me feel. It is so tragic. I hadn’t kept in touch with him after I moved, but he was someone who had left a positive mark on my memories. He was one of the good guys, and I was sad to hear of such an early departure from this place.

The day I left El Paso, my mom and I stopped at a gas station to fill up before the big trip north. It was there that I ran into Doug and Sam. They were the last friends I saw before our big move. For once I am happy that my mom had her camera surgically attached to her wrist, for I have a visual reminder of this moment in time.

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Sam, Me, Doug

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It Snowed In My Kitchen Today

I seem to go through phases with being a stay-at-home mom. Either my calendar is overflowing with things to do, and I have lots of events from which to pick and choose. Or, it’s a veritable drought. Seriously. It is my belief that this pattern is largely self-imposed. Why? Because I am not a very good clicker. I have a hard time clicking with other moms. Hey, acceptance is the first step.

It’s hard to do much of anything with anyone this time of year; everyone is so busy, but I am lucky to have a handful of amazing friends. These are people that I trust, share freely with, and can totally be myself around. We do have get-togethers, but there are many, many days in the week that I often find myself figuring out what the heck to do with the kids.

Today was one of those days where the kids and I didn’t have anything scheduled, so I decided we’d make shortbread cookies. The kids have a blast spilling, err, I mean pouring and stirring. Typically this is done with out utensils.

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Emily wanted to know why she couldn’t just eat the flour. I told her, look, it’s just so much more fun to spill and get messy with.

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I’m still not sure how Braedyn got flour all over his backside. He’s never even watched The Swedish Chef!

A Conspiracy Afoot

Here I am, about to blog about the conspiracy in this house to keep me from sitting on the couch for more than 5 minutes at a time.  I knew the mere fact this conspiracy exists would make this blog a difficult one.  I had to get up twice already just for this first paragraph.

Now, my son asks… daddy will you come sit with me.  The blog will have to wait…

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hard Wired Worry

I will be the first to admit that I have irrational fears sometimes. I will wake up in the middle of the night worried about some stupid little thing I said to someone several days earlier. I will obsess over how I said it, whether or not it was taken the right way, or whether or not I offended someone. (Admittedly, these things are often something I said after a couple of drinks among friends. Oopsie.) And then I can’t get back to sleep. I will mull it over and over again until I want to staple my eyelids closed in the hopes that I can finally get back to sleep and wake up in a world where that irrational fear will simply be chalked up to me just being crazy.

Sometimes those fears aren’t over things that have happened. Sometimes they are fears of things that COULD happen. In order to explain my most recent erratic fear, I have to explain a little history. Greg and I have NEVER had an overnight without our children. NEVER. Braedyn just turned five. I’ll let that one sink in for a minute. It’s not from a lack of trying. First, when Greg turned 40 I had a big bash surprise party for him. I had a babysitter in place. I had a room booked. I had my bag packed. THEN. Then I realized it was the night before Easter. How could we NOT be there for our kids on Easter morning? Right. So, my plan was foiled. Second, last year we booked a room at the place where Greg’s work holiday party was. THEN. Then Braedyn’s tonsils had to be removed a week early and there was no way we would leave him with a babysitter overnight during his recovery.

So, my most recent irrational fear has to do with tonight. Our children are going to have their first overnight with their Grandma while Greg and I go to his work holiday party. She is taking our car, and driving Braedyn and Emily and two of her other grandchildren to her house. She is taking them to a parade of lights in her quaint little town. This leaves me and Greg with a whole night to ourselves. Alone. Well, except for pooper 1 (Koko) and pooper 2 (Charmin). This sounds great, right? Enter irrational fears. About things that COULD.

I won’t go into the thoughts that run through my head, but I would like to share what I have learned recently about my fears. I used to always blame my mom for getting her icky worry gene (sorry, Mom). And in a way, I was right. Apparently anxiety and worry is something that is hard-wired in your brain, so where experience can definitely add to your anxieties and fears, your foundation is often derived by the luck (or unluck) of the draw of your parents. Where my dad does not have the worry gene, my mom most certainly does. I often have to remind her that I AM in my thirties, and I will be fine going to the grocery store by myself. Really. I will. Thank you very much.

So, knowing this actually makes me feel like blaming my mother less. Knowing this has started a process of learning, learning how to manage these irrational fears. So, tonight I consider myself in that learning process. I don’t think these fears will ever go away thanks to that blasted hard wiring, but what I do see is a life where they are manageable. Tonight, Greg and I will have a great time. Tonight, my children will gain self-confidence as they have a night away from their loving parents. Tonight, I will trust. I know that I will make a couple of extra calls to make sure everything is going well, but I have also learned that that is okay. So, Grandma, make sure your cell is on.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ainbow-Nake-My Little Pony-Magic Wand Man

Tonight was one of those nights with my kids that I just cherish.  Emily and Braedyn played together, without fighting, without yelling, without crying for a good 40 minutes before I cracked and said get your well behaved asses in bed, I want my wine.

It was at that point that the meltdowns started, but they were only momentary, and Emily recovered nicely.  She does have a cold after all. 

The icing on the cake was Braedyn going to his room and reading whilst I got Emily ready for bed (um, after he brushed his teeth, got on his pajamas both by himself…whaaa).

So there I am trying to find a open space in her bed where cushions and not toys are actually visible.  She is in a new phase, all toys must come to bed.  So there I am wishing Wall-E could scoop a spot out for me and Em starts handing me stuff.

“Here daddy, wear the ainbow nake”

“Here daddy, putt doggy in your pocket”

“Here Daddy, put pony in your pocket”

“Here Daddy, put pony in your pocket”

“Here Daddy, put pony in your pocket” (yes, three of them)

“Here Daddy, hold my wand” (yes the pink magic wand)

“And my keys to daddy”  (now what you don’t know is I already have three Hot Wheels in my front pocket that need “to be fixed”)

“Daddy kiss the nake, then kiss me”

So there I am, kissing the “ainbow nake” whoa so I can kiss Emily whoa. The things you do for your kids.

I think I like the look. 

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Was that Thanksgiving or was It a Big Ass Party?

This year we opted for the “fun with friends” theme over the “obligatory family” theme for Thanksgiving. Even though not getting invited by any of our family helped make the choice of themes crystal clear, in all honesty, it was refreshing and FUN <gasp>. There was no clock watching, no food throwing, and the only tears this year didn’t come from me but from my two overtired children.

Our guests, well, let me just introduce them. First, Lee. Lee is from Hawaii and is 22 years old. He brought a full case of Red Bull and a full bottle of Absolut Mandarin Vodka to make Tang Bangers. Oh, yum, yum! Start with about 4 ounces of Red Bull, and when you are ready to party, drop the shot glass full of Absolut into the glass, and chug. Lee doesn’t even drink but brought all of this for those of us who you know, occasionally imbibe. In addition to bringing drinks of cheer to our festive day, he brought a slew of Wii games to play. So many I thought Braedyn’s head was going to pop. And on top of all of that, Lee is one of the kindest and most polite guys I’ve ever met.

Second, CJ. CJ is seriously the kindest, sweetest woman I have ever met. She has a HUGE heart, loves kids and dogs (and they LOVE her), and could seriously kick anyone’s ass I know. She’s all that in about a 5 foot package. She runs marathons, competes in triathlons, and belongs to a local search and rescue squad. Greg has known her for many, many years, and I’m just grateful she digs women, otherwise I would have lost Greg to her eons ago.

Third, Eric and Jackie. This fun-loving couple moved here from Jersey a couple of years ago, and they. can. party. I often tease Eric for being a “Jersey boy with no filter.” You’ll see why I say that in a minute. Jackie is a tremendously kind-hearted, and this couple is truly a blast to be around.

Fourth, my step-son, Jacob. Awesome young man with a generous spirit and big heart. Oh, and he is excellent competition on the Wii for Lee. OK, Jacob is the only one out of all of us who even came CLOSE to beating Lee. Braedyn gave it an honorable attempt, but it was Jacob that ultimately provided Lee with some semblance of a challenge.

Fifth, Braedyn and Emily. Ah, our children. They hate turkey and wanted nothing to do with the dinner I slaved over. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Braedyn just wanted to pillage the bag of games that Lee brought.

So, in my attempt to make Thanksgiving as homey as possible to all of our guests, a few days prior to the big day I sent out an email asking them to let me know if there was something in particular that really made Thanksgiving for them.

Lee said he’d like to have us serve a turbaconducken. Um, sure. I’ll get right on that. Oh, and the day rental of the defibrillator.

Eric emailed me. I have contemplated putting his response in this post, but I have decided to summarize his traditional Thanksgiving request instead. It involved his Nana, her homemade cocaine, two hookers, and some pumpkin pie. His no-filter self had a blast writing this tongue-in-cheek email, a story written in GREAT detail, and Greg and I had a very good laugh (and a few blushing moments) reading it. Oh, and Eric, if you are reading this, please, please start your own blog. You are a funny and witty guy, and people will get a kick out of your skanky, foul-mouthed self. ;)

Ultimately, our Thanksgiving was awesome. It was a blast. In fact, I think we should do it again next year. For I was thankful, truly thankful, for the fun, relaxed time had by us all. Oh, and I was also thankful, um, TRULY thankful, that Nana and her hookers live on the East coast.